One of the most common ongoing debates in the computer world is "Mac vs. PC." Macs, produced by Apple, have often been used in the design world, with the PC (running the Windows operating system) dominating most of the business world. When looking at the two for graphic design work, the focus is on the handling of graphics, color, and type, the availability of software, and overall ease of use.
Graphics, Color and Type
The handling of graphics, color and type is a significant portion of a graphic designer’s job. Because of Apple’s long history of being the “designer’s computer,” they have focused on improving their handling of colors and fonts, especially when going from screen and file to print. If you had to choose between a Mac and a PC on this factor alone, Apple has the edge. However, the same results can be achieved on a PC. For web design, neither wins out, though be sure to have access to both operating systems to test your sites across all platforms.
Mac vs. PC Software
As far as graphic design is concerned, there is no significant difference in the software available for the Mac or PC. All of the major applications, including the Adobe Creative Suite, are developed for both platforms. Because the Mac is often considered the designer’s computer, there are some handy tools and applications that are Mac-only. Overall, there is more software available for the PC, especially if you are focused on a particular industry, gaming or 3-D renderings (such as for architecture).
Ease of Use
Apple has clearly focused their operating system on ease of use, introducing new features with each release that improve the user experience. Their integration from application to application enables a clean workflow. While this is most apparent in their consumer applications such as iPhoto and iMovie, it continues through to professional tools and third-party products. While Microsoft has improved the user experience in the Windows operating system, I would give the edge to Apple on ease of use.
Mac vs. PC Conclusion
Generally, “Macs” are mentioned in the same sentence as “graphic design,” and rightfully so for their excellent graphics and font capabilities, and ease of use. The drawback of the Apple used to be the price, but if you do want a Mac and are tight on budget consider the “consumer” level iMac, which is powerful enough for graphic design tasks, or a refurbished model. In the end, especially when starting out, you will probably do just as well with a PC. With some smart shopping you can get a powerful one for less money than a Mac, and you will be using the same design software… your creativity, and not the cost of your computer, will determine the outcome of your work.